Peroneal Subluxation aka “Snapping Ankle”


  • Athletes
  • Sports involving side stepping/ toe running
  • Volleyball/ basketball/ netball etc.
  • Sprinters/ runners


Peroneal subluxation or “snapping ankle” is the condition used to describe a snapping or clicking sensation that occurs on the outside of the ankle. This clicking sensation, that traditionally occurs around the lateral malleolus (the large bony bump on the outside of the ankle) can be associated with pain or discomfort, and is caused by excessive movement or misalignment of the tendons of the peroneal muscles as they pass behind the lateral malleolus. When these tendons flick over the bony prominence, on the outside of the ankle, it creates a clicking or snapping sensation.


The tendons of the peroneal (fibularis) longus and brevis muscles are traditionally the cause of the ankle clicking. These tendons are normally held in place by a sheath of connective tissue called a retinaculum. This protective sheath and/or the fibularis tendons generally become weaker following severe or chronic ankle sprains and injuries. The most common cause of injury is an excessive turning of the foot inwards (inversion sprain) whilst the knee is bent, which generally occurs during activities and sports requiring lots of side stepping. Over time this can lead to  instability at the ankle resulting in an increased chance of further ankle sprains and injuries which further weakens the retinaculum and tendons resulting in the clicking sensation. In severe cases the retinaculum holding the tendons can be ruptured which will require a combination of physiotherapy and further medical management.


To manage peroneal subluxation your local move forward physiotherapist will assess your whole lower limb including your hips and lower back to determine any factors that may be contributing to your injury. An individualized program and treatment plan will then be prescribed to help reduce the strain placed on your ankle muscles and tendons in order to best manage your injury and to prevent any ongoing long term pain. A number of techniques may be used throughout your rehabilitation, which may include;
• Deep tissue massage
• Dry needling
• Joint mobilisations
• Stretching exercises
• Strengthening exercises can be incorporated into a Pilates program at both our Quinns Physiotherapy and Jindalee Physiotherapy Move Forward practices.
• Heat and/or ice therapy
• Taping
• Activity modifications, performed under physio supervision at our Hillarys Physiotherapy, located just next to Whitfords Shopping centre within Healthy Life Gym.